Reviewed by Sean Dodson
Most of us have got to know Yo! Sushi by now, you sit on a stool by a conveyer belt and pick off brightly coloured plates as they roll past. Simple as that. But visit the chain’s restaurant on the London South Bank and you presented with a new dilemma. To dine inside or out?
The chain is now offering its customers al fresco dining at selected branches. And so one gloriouslate summer evening we eschewed the brightly lit interior and ordered from the special Yo! Fresco menu instead. Soon our bright orange table, situated beneath a deck of the Royal Festival Hall, was full with a flotilla of tiny balsa wood “sharing boats”. Each was packed with the carefully prepared portions of sushi arranged a little like parcels of cargo on the deck of a child’s toy.
We began with five pieces of fried prawns (£5.50), crispy morsels lightly breadcrumbed and served with a tangy dipping sauce. There followed, via a friendly squabble over the fifth portion, a similar serving of gyoza (£5.50), five plump Japanese dumplings filled with pork and vegetables and left crispy on one side. Naturally, we made a trade.
Two “boats” of sushi quickly followed. The serving of salmon sushi (£7.00) was terrific: four pieces of premium salmon hand-pressed “nigiri” sushi and the six smaller “maki’ rolls made for a more even number. The maki was delicious: tightly packed and wrapped in wafer-thin seaweed they were ever-so-slightly sweet thanks to a well-balanced rice vinegar. The subsequent assorted sushi (£7.00) came with yet more salmon, the only real menu oversight, but the addition of tuna and prawn was welcome.
We managed to save the most exotic dish to last. A quintet of dragon rolls (£8.00), soft shell crab fried in tempura batter and left with the claws protruding, were fantastic. We just dipped the claw in the sweet chilli mayonnaise and jammed the whole lot in our mouths. Yes, we fought for the last one.
We washed the whole feast down with a novel Kirin Ichiban Frozen Beer. It wasn’t quite frozen solid like an ice lolly, as its name suggests, but instead came with a foamy head, stiff like a sorbet, that kept it cool for longer.
The fleet of boats was now sunk, we still called for something sweet. The trio of dorayaki, Japanese pancakes (£6) with a soft and silky custard filling was delightful, the gooey chocolate Mochi – rice balls basically – remains something we need to get used to.
What’s nice about Yo! Sushi is that it is an innovative chain. As flexible as the conveyer belt, it's now famous for, there’s always a new approach. Just grab a chance to try it outdoors while the weather holds.
For more information or to view menus visit www.yosushi.com